Our current favorite pins; we asked a few friends what they thought about them too.
Originally published in Skill Shot issue 12, February 2010

Cactus Canyon – It’s fun but tends to be more highly regarded because it’s rare. I wish they’d finished the software, there was supposed to be a final Bart brother to fight at the end. Bionic Bart, I think. (JG) The gun fight with the drop targets popping up out of the playfield is my favorite part. (GG) “Shoot that bad guy!” (NL)

The Champion Pub – A celebration of stereotypes! How many video modes does this game have? (NL)  The Spitting Gallery is great, that’s why I play this game. The pinball part is fun too. (GG) “Flip, kid, flip!” (BB)

Family Guy – Bouncy, with a chance of Stewie Pinball. One of my favorites of the new(ish) Stern games, although it shows the path Stern started down in making boring playfield layouts. One of the easiest games to get a free replay (or 3) on in Shorty’s right now even though you must invest 75¢ to begin with. (CB) I like to puke on Meg and make her cry. (BB)

Star Trek: the Next Generation – Steve Ritchie’s best game, it’s really well rounded. There are multiple strategies that pay off, and if you get a few going in the same game it’s a breakout score. (JG) When they work, the probes are my favorite part. (NL) The voices, music and different modes are great! I try to get the Holodeck every time I play. (GG)

Theatre of Magic – Pretty sweet game. I never finished the wizard mode… does it have a multiball? I like playing the different “tricks” and how each one has a different shot. (4PA) Very fun game but unfortunately the only winning strategy is to shoot the left orbit a million times. (KM)

Fish Tales – I like how you can charge up the center captive ball for sweet awards (even stacking Rock the Boat w/ multiball). And the video mode is the best. (4PA) Tough game but unbalanced scoring. The really big points are in super jackpots, so expert players will only play for that. Anyone less expert will only play for Monster Fish. Wasted potential in terms of competitive play. [But is it fun?] Yeah, for the most part. There’s very little lower playfield to work with so it feels cramped to me. (KM)

Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein – It’s the fun-ist, ugliest game I know. I saw Kenneth Branagh on the back glass and I said “No! No! No!” (NL) I was at Sega when it was designed and built. I’m not fond of it. The stand-ups are flakey and the ramp is way too steep. The graphics are great – done by friends of mineJ (KM) It’s a fun game and the one at The Lookout is hard to tilt. (GG)

Spectrum – I love this game and wish there were more of them. I don’t think I’ve ever solved the code, I think you have to hear what the game is saying. (GG)  Beautiful game. Cover image of Skill Shot 6.5.  I love how there’s no plunger. “Guess the computer’s color code!” There’s no game like it.  I want one!  I love Spectrum. (BB)

Wheel of Fortune – It’s ugly, has a lame theme and sound. Cool design from the slingshots down though. A couple of the bonus wheel modes are killer. Had a 5-way combo worth about 100M once. Stacking the multiballs would be better if the jackpot lights weren’t all f####d up. (JG) Tough game, not one I’ve had much success with.
I think it’s surprisingly good considering the unusual theme. (KM)

NBA It’s really simple, not suitable for expert players, but novices seem to like it just fine. (KM) Every time I see it at Shorty’s I’m tempted to shit on it, then light it on fire. (JG) I play it every time I’m there. (GG)  It’s so fast!  The loops are intense, and the spinning pad in the middle adds suspense. Shooting a basket is like magic! (BB) Johnson. (NL)

Monster Bash – A great game. So cool that each shot is a different monster, and that you can keep advancing each simultaneously (except during Frankie multiball, but then the timer stops). After watching Cayle, I learned that the shot sequence during Monsters of Rock is pretty systematic for mega points if you can hit them.
The scoop awards are good too, spotting stuff you need when ya need it. (4PA)

Attack From Mars – A great game. Ethnic stereotypes in pinball are always a bonus. Play through all of the saucers, you’ll hear what I’m talking about. Kinda like the boxers in Champion Pub. Great progression on the multiball, each super jackpot raises the jackpot value of that multiball and every other one for the rest of the game. Stacking Martian Multiball and Total Annihilation is lucrative. Trapping a ball behind the force field during multi-ball is like a license to steal points. (JG)